Yaminoo–which I used to spell Yuh Meh Oo, but I’m now learning the way her documents spell it, and I’m thus trying to teach her the same–came over to cook with me on Friday. She clearly had an announcement she had been rehearsing, and she paused in the kitchen and turned to say, “Tomorrow. And tomorrow. Yaminoo go to Myanmar. Five.”
I wanted to be sure I understood, so I repeated back, “In two days? Yaminoo will go to Burma for five days? Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday? Then Yaminoo will come back?”
I was a little worried about the coming back, so I repeated, “Yaminoo come back, right?” I really love this girl, so I wanted to be sure I understood.
She assured me she was coming back with a smile. We’ve had similar conversations before I leave. In the past she’s spent quite a lot of time at our house. Her household seems much more stable now, but in more unstable times she could be found at our house for most of the time between 3pm, when school finished, to 9 or 10pm at night. I’ve always gone out of my way to make sure she knew before we were leaving, and that we’d be back after so many days, weeks, or months.
And now it was her turn to tell me she’d be traveling, but that she’d be back. She looked so proud for successfully communicating.
Fast forward those two days, and we’re giving Yaminoo, her cousin, her two aunts, and her grandmother a ride out to the border. We make it three-quarters of the way when our gas pedal loses all it’s oomph. Literally, all oomph is when the throttle cable breaks, leaving you stranded on the side of the road.
We helped our friends and their bags load into a songtaew to go the rest of the way and Stephen took a look at our situation. As we pulled it over to the side of the highway, we were informed it couldn’t block any of the fruit and meat stands which line the sidewalks. So we pushed it further and on to a little side road.
And we called for help.
We were looking at this situation: a broken-down car on the side of a major highway, in one of the more shady areas of a shady little border town we call home. We weren’t really able to help our friends much after all. The heat of the day was bearing down on us, and we were now very late for our Burmese church service. The good friend and knowledgeable mechanic that we called was scheduled to preach for the second church service today–our expat home church–and Stephen was scheduled for worship. In both of them being huddled around the car, we were threatening to really mess up the plan for home church.
But so it is.
And we decided it most certainly could have been worse, so we’ll just choose to count our blessings! While we were on the side of the road–an obvious group of traveling Burmese with plenty of bags and two white foreigners–police passed us and did not stop to “help.” Since not all of us were paper-bearing, that is a blessing!
Our friend, Matt, was a huge help by tying a cable to the throttle, threading it through the hood, and driving it to the shop by pulling the cable through the window. It’s pretty great that our little home church community takes time to actually be the church to each other, even when we have sermons to preach and songs to sing in just a couple hours.
We drank some nice iced coffee while we sat on the edge of the highway, and the fruit-stand woman certainly tried to have a friendly chat with us.
News spread pretty quickly that we attempted to help get our friends to the border, but didn’t make it the whole way. But our car is being fixed, and we got a nice laugh with the community about what they labeled our “cheap car.”
It’s nice that we all get by with a little help from our friends!